Tinney told the retired cop he had to “cough up compensation money to prevent the photos being published on social media” and in the Sunday papers.
Ordering 50-year-old Jennifer Elaine Tinney, from north Antrim, to serve half her sentence in jail and half on licence, Judge Roseanne McCormick KC warned that blackmail “is always a serious offence because it preys upon the soul of the victim….deterrent sentences have to be passed.”
Despite admitting her guilt in the £10,000 extortion where she “wanted the victim to suffer,” the judge told Antrim Crown Court it was clear that Tinney still sought to “minimise her behaviour,” has shown a “lack of insight” into the impact of her cruel offending and may still “harbour feelings of resentment” towards her victim.
Having heard that a social media profile bearing the defendant’s name and image identified the retired officer after the story appeared in the Sunday papers, Tinney was also handed a five year restraining order barring her from contacting him or from mentioning his name online.
Tinney, from from Gordonville Park in Ballymoney, had entered a guilty plea a charge of blackmail in that between 15-30 January 2020, she “made unwarranted demands of money with menaces” and to converting the cash she received from her victim.
Summarising the case during her sentencing remarks, the judge outlined how the victim, who knew Tinney from his previous career, “had consumed a few drinks” when he decided to send her a Facebook friend request.
Initially, there was a series of flirty texts and he told her “what I would want to do to her” and he sent her two images of himself, one of his legs and one of his genitals.
Rather than reject them or show outrage, Tinney told him “he had a great body and that there were things she could do with his ‘weapon’ and he assumed this referred to his penis,” finishing off the text exchange by wishing him “filthy dreams.”
The following day the texting took a much more sinister turn and for the next two weeks, “he was subjected to continued blackmail by the defendant.”
Writing messages as though they came from someone else, Tinney told the retired cop he had to “cough up compensation money to prevent the photos being published on social media” and in the Sunday papers.
“She also told him that the people who knew about the photos were not going to let the matter go,” said the judge, adding that the victim offered to pay £1,000 but was told he would “have to pay up a hell of a lot more or this is going everywhere.”
With the victim pleading that he “would do anything” to make the images go away, Tinney told him he would need to pay double and at one stage, after he transferred £3,000, the victim received a message which included a photograph of his daughter.
With more monies being transferred, Tinney sent the victim a copy of his picture with his name and “retired cop….paedophile” emblazoned over it.
The victim threatened he would go to the police but “out of desperation he offered to send Tinney a further £1000.”
“She then threatened to go to three big newspapers, the police and the courts unless he paid an amount of money similar to the amount he had already paid,” said Judge McCormick, revealing that while the victim “knew he was being blackmailed by Tinney, he felt he had no choice but to keep paying in order to prevent his photos being shared yet further.”
Having transferred a total of £10,000 to Tinney over the two weeks, it was when she demanded a further £5,000 that the victim finally alerted the police.
When they searched Tinney‘s home officers seized just over £2,500 ans along with £2,800 frozen in her bank account, those sums have been handed back to the retired cop.
The court however there is “no reasonable prospect” of any more restitution forthcoming and Judge McCormick said the impact on the victim was more than financial but was “physical and indeed emotional….he was highly distressed.”
Arrested and questioned, Tinney admitted her involvement in the blackmail but while the victim claimed Tinney was flirting and encouraging with him in the initial text messages, she “denied sending any sexual messages and said that the thing she wanted to do with his weapon was to report him to police.”
“Tinney said her motivation for doing this was to punish the victim for sending what she felt was an unsolicited photo of his penis. She also admitted that it became very much about the money for her,” the court heard.
Judge McCormick said it was clear that while the extortion plot began opportunistically, “she used a number tactics to ensure fear and I consider that she did so in an attempt to obtain increasing amounts of money.”
The offence was also aggravated because at the time, Tinney was subject to a suspended jail sentence for theft and fraud having used a stolen bank card to purchase a small number of items.
While Judge McCormick activated those sentences, she ordered them to be served concurrently to the blackmail sentence.